For most of us, canola is a nice colourful accent on a drive through the country. What people from Toronto would consider “out there.”
But for Canada’s economy, canola is a very valuable asset. A couple of quick canola facts for you: the rapeseed vegetable oil contributed almost $27 billion to the Canadian economy in 2017. It accounts for 250,000 jobs and $11.2 billion in wages. It is considered Canada’s most valuable crop, generating one quarter of all farm cash receipts. Ninety per cent of canola is exported.
It should come as some concern, then, that China has decided to cut Canadian canola imports as part of an ongoing trade dispute.
Chinese importers “are unwilling to purchase Canadian canola seed at this time,” said the Canola Council of Canada (CCC) said in a news release yesterday. This comes just two months after the CCC was super stoked about China’s commitment to Canadian canola seeds.
So, why does this matter? China is Canada’s largest market for canola, accounting for 40 per cent of exports. In 2018, Chinese importers purchased $2.7 billion worth of canola seed. And while the CCC is confident that the gap will be recovered by selling to other markets, one has to wonder what would happen if China suddenly cut back on other Canadian goods.
China is Canada’s second-largest trading partner, accounting for $21.3 billion in annual exports.